AI and Full Journey Support Highlight HubSpot’s Latest Moves
HubSpot recently held their annual Inbound user conference in Boston. At the conference the marketing automation company, turned CRM company … now turned “Customer Platform” company, revealed more about their platform, including how AI and “Smart CRM” will make their platform more powerful for everyday users.
In addition to the product news, the company just keeps on growing, announcing an impressive milestone of 100,000 customers this year and more than $1 billion in recurring revenue. And even though a large part of their install base are smaller businesses, it’s no small feat.
At Inbound, the primary announcements were on the additions to the platform, the injection of more AI powered tools and features and some pricing news. Let’s dig into each.
From CRM to GTM
While HubSpot may call its portfolio its “Customer Platform,” we see it more as a go-to-market (GTM) platform – supporting many facets of the customer journey. From its early days as a content marketing and lead generation tool, HubSpot has added multiple core “Hubs” that span much of the customer journey.
The vision is to create a platform that can manage the lion’s share of customer engagement activities, end-to-end, but questions remain if HubSpot can grow beyond its marketing automation roots and be a true CRM provider, if not a GTM technology platform that can compete with the likes of Salesforce.
It does seem the data is in HubSpot’s favor. At its Inbound analyst day, the company revealed that over the past four years, the percentage of customers with more than two “Hubs” went from 49% to a solid 63%. Meanwhile, the number of customers using three or more Hubs in that span went from 21% to 32%. A multi-Hub customer base is happening, but there is still a lot of ground to cover – and room to grow.
AI Ties It All Together
The company made several announcements regarding new features built on or integrated with Generative AI platforms. The most interesting announcement is what it is calling Content Assistant. Like what we’ve seen from competing vendors, Content Assistant is designed to simplify the creation, distribution and sharing of marketing and sales content.
Its initial feature set includes:
- Ability to suggest blog titles related to a product or service, then generate a complete blog post outline for that title
- Prompts for users to quickly generate content for blog posts, landing pages, website pages, sales and marketing emails and knowledge base articles
- Ability to streamline content marketing workflows into one place, saving teams time and energy
In addition, the company has released in public alpha new features to ChatSpot.ai. The new tools help users complete a variety of tasks using a natural language chat-based user experience.
The tool helps users:
- Add contacts and companies to the HubSpot CRM with less clicks and typing
- Create custom reports related to marketing, sales, and customer service through GPT like prompts to simplify the report building process
- Draft sales emails personalized to the recipient with little effort
While not related to ChatSpot.ai, one AI powered addition is a more user-friendly ability to create automated chatbot flows. While many think of these as a support use case, a full journey nurture strategy must include a solid chat experience, and this improvement aids full journey nurture initiatives.
One new feature that isn’t AI powered, per se, but is interesting in how it aggregates data, is a new “Prospecting Window.” This provides sales development reps a single panel to better go through lead lists, with those leads prioritized by the “Smart CRM.” And when integrated with the company’s full journey nurture tool – its chat tool inside its Help Desk feature set – prospecting productivity can improve.
HubSpot will be the first to tell you they are looking beyond even CRM, creating more of a total go-to-market platform. Their recent announcements support this move, which not only build out their GTM platform vision, but also help make HubSpot a more viable choice for larger businesses.
The AI additions are in line with what other CRM and GTM vendors are adding. It’s all about simplifying common tasks and driving user productivity. These are not surprising, but important additions for HubSpot to remain competitive in an increasingly rapidly developing AI-powered CRM and GTM technology marketplace.
The good news for current HubSpot customers is that the AI tools will be, for the most part, free to use until at least early 2024. It is both a good opportunity for users to take advantage of some powerful features, as well as for HubSpot to learn about what types of insights customers value most.
The bad news for people looking to add the updated Sales Hub to their existing Marketing and CMS hub deployments – unit pricing increases to $150 per user, per month in the next quarter. While HubSpot is looking to move upmarket, we think this significant pricing increase may alienate some of the lower end Marketing products users from moving over to the Sales tools. This is unfortunate – as the company has done solid work creating a strong, tightly integrated GTM portfolio that can support a Converged Growth approach to customer engagement.